Ad Sales function of the STAR News is in the process of becoming a Media Content and Communication Services (MCCS) responsibility. The change, which is still in the process, would be effective from February 1. STAR’s Shanti Rao, who was heading the STAR News sales functions till now, would move into another responsibility from the bouquet. Spearheading the function is Probal Gaanguly, who is joining the media group as Sales Director and would be reporting to CEO, Uday Shankar.
Sharing this and more, the new man at the helm of affairs, Gaanguly shares that this was a normal progression for him, from his duty at Sony Entertainment Television, where he was heading the Ad Sales function of the southern and western region for the Network. Gaanguly quits Sony after a stint of over nine years, “At SET, I had the chance to build teams from scratch in areas like Kolkata and Delhi. The experience there was productive and rewarding.”
Building teams is a task that forms one of the core features of his new assignment, “Primarily, the present mandate is to build the sales team that will take care of STAR News and any other channel that comes from MCCS. Achieving this, the focus would then be more on aspects like strategising,” informs Gaanguly.
So far, the other key bureaus of MCCS that is Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore did not have a sales division in place. The new structure changes this. Two key appointments in Delhi are already made, Vineet Gupta from India TV joins the channel as Sr Manager and Nandini Govindan from Zee News joins as Manager Sales. Gaanguly shares that many such appointments from other bureaus too are in the pipeline.
Commenting on the need for MCCS to take on the sales function in its purview, Gaanguly says, “It is a logical extension. Even so far, STAR News was sold independently. In that sense, there isn’t much change that would take place in operations. Beginning with sales, by April, other functions like post sales production service and so on also would come under MCCS.”
In his experience so far, prior to Sony, Gaanguly has spent time with Anandbazar Patrika as well. At Sony, after establishing the Kolkata office, Gaanguly moved to build the Delhi office in 1999. In October, 2001, he was placed in the Mumbai office to take care of the Western Region. In the 2002-03 period, he was a member of the team that took care of Sony’s high-cost properties like the ICICI trophy. From that in 2003, he was back to the Network handling five channels with the added job of the southern region.
As to why STAR News, he expresses, “STAR News is a brand that has always commanded respect in the news space. With its transformation into a Hindi news channel and boasting of a steady growth, despite some testing times, it continues to remain a good brand. This makes it an interesting duty and I believe that with my experience, I can further add value to it. Also, in the last year, unlike other genres, new genre has seen a growth and I see it augmenting in days to come. It is the right time to be in this space.”
On the people front, for ad sales, STAR News will soon have a new team in place. Whether this move means any change for the channel and the forthcoming channels from MCCS, one will soon find out.